Review: Samsung Galaxy Mega for AT&T
The whole point of the Mega is to give people a huge screen. It's a bummer that the screen doesn't impress me much. The screen has 1280 x 720 pixels spread across the 6.3-inch diagonal. By way of comparison, the Note II has 1280 x 800 pixels in a 5.5-inch screen, and the Galaxy S4 has 1920 x 1080 pixels packed into a 5.0-inch screen. You can tell immediately that the Mega's screen is inferior to its more pixel-rich brothers. Text looks hazy, icons have noticeable pixels along the edges, and nothing about the screen looks sharp or crisp. In fact, the lack of pixels leaves it looking somewhat dull. Color reproduction and brightness are both fine, but the resolution bugged me a lot. I am sure some prospective buyers will prefer the large size despite the lower resolution, but I am not one of them.
The Mega performed on par with other devices using AT&T's network in and around the metro NYC area. I was able to make calls everywhere I took the phone, though areas with weak coverage slowed down data speeds to a crawl. The Mega didn't drop any calls, and I didn't miss any calls. I was able to use the Mega on both AT&T's HSPA+ and LTE networks. Hand-offs between the two were transparent as far as data sessions were concerned. LTE speeds were good, but not the best I've seen. The max download speed I achieved was 26 Mbps. I've seen some devices double that.
The quality of phone calls was quite good. I thought voices sounded warm and present, and they came through the earpiece clearly. I didn't experience any interference during calls. The earpiece produces only adequate volume, though. It's loud enough for use indoors, such as your home or office, but in loud spaces it’s difficult to hear. Using it outdoors is even more problematic. People who I spoke to through the Mega said I sounded a bit distant, but clear. The speakerphone offers good quality and decent volume, but it could be better in both regards. Ringers and alert tones were loud enough to get my attention most of the time, but the vibrate alert was rather weak.
The Mega's 3,200mAh battery should provide enough power to get most users through about a full day. This is one area where the screen's lower resolution helps: the Mega's processor has fewer pixels to push, and needs less energy to do so. Still, 6.3 inches is a large canvas to fill. I was able to get the Mega to last from 8AM to 11PM about 60% of the time I used it. Several days, however, it conked out closer to 8 or 9PM. I used it quite heavily on the days it died earlier, which involved plenty of phone calls, streaming music and video, use of all the radios (Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth, and GPS), and lots of social networking. If you really want to kill the batter off in a hurry, play Candy Crush or Temple Run for a while. Those chew through battery life quickly. I'd plan on charging the Mega every night and keeping a charger handy.